Writers, are you living in a vacuum?

-->The inside of a vacuum is an air-free, isolated place that’s not influenced by the outside world. The expression “living in a vacuum” means you’re caught up in your own little world and unaware of the big picture. It refers to people with a limited range of experience, who are oblivious to real-world perspectives. 

I’ve worked in advertising as a copywriter for over 15 years, and this is an expression that comes up all the time. When a creative team gets so wrapped up in every nuance about a particular product (typically what the client says is important), that they often fail to realize that the outside world, the people they’re trying to sell this product to, could care less about most of the things they’re obsessing about.

A trend I’m seeing is that writers are getting caught up in a social media vacuum. Where they think that the only world that exists, and the only opinions that matter, are the ones swirling around them online. It happens to me...so I know it happens to other people. You start believing what you read about other people’s books, about your own books, about the success and failures of those around you. But if you were to instead, turn away from your computer and walk out your front door and ask anyone else about the things that are influencing you so negatively, they’ll likely say they’ve never heard of any of it.

The woman at the grocery. The mother of your child’s friend. Your cousin’s book club. They read, and they’d love your book! And no, they’re not familiar with ANY of the people or things you’re obsessing about on Facebook or Instagram. Nor do they care.

My point is…it’s so easy to get sucked up inside this vacuum. Where you tend to care about only what exists on social media. Where you begin to accept cyber opinions of yourself as gospel. People who’ve never met you, will never meet you, and will certainly never care about you, are influencing your writing…not to mention your daily mood.

Don’t let it happen. I guarantee you it isn’t worth it.

If you are a writer, then write. Yes, social media is a huge part of the publishing process. It’s critical to marketing “you”, but it shouldn’t define you.

The online world you live in, as vast and important as it may seem, is an infinitesimal part of the real world. And if you want longevity in this business, then you’re going to need people in the real world to care about your books too.

Empty that dusty, suffocating vacuum and focus on what matters.

Maybe get yourself a broom instead?


  1. Great post Dina and a good reminder!

  2. I so needed this today. Thanks to Lani for sending me over!

  3. And Tracey!

  4. I kind of want to kiss you for this. So. Much. This. Thank you!

  5. Dina!
    Exactly! When I was in the marketing world I always reminded my team of this exact thing - we need to make sure we aren't writing copy that talks to ourselves instead of the target audience. It's common in the ad business and every business. And I think that's the problem with all the online chatter - it's about only the business and not the creativity of writing. We should all go write! Happy 2015!

  6. Good post, Dina. We can't be all things to all people, so best to be yourself and keep writing.